Patricia Soley-Beltram moved back to her home town of Barcelona after graduating to continue her research with an amazing and worthwhile outcome.
PhD Sociology of Gender, Science Studies Unit
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Your time at the University
My time at the university was very intense, tough and bright. I often thought there was no light at the end of the PhD tunnel. I only had a fees grant and, although, I worked as an Assistant Warden at Pollock Halls, I was very poor and suffered hardship. I remember brightening up one dark day while reading an article on J. K. Rowling's first book in The Big Issue, the homeless people newspaper. I was very moved and inspired by the success of a woman that also suffered hardship in the city. I also had to fight against my own insecurity in the shape of an inner voice telling me I will never make it. Fortunately, I kept on working and I did it! I reached then one of the most rewarding times of my life. I woke up every morning feeling grateful to British taxpayers and honoured to be able to read my PhD thesis in Edinburgh University.
In Divine! the personal is political and academic too, for it combines my personal experience as a former model with academic research and a critical standpoint.
Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University
After finishing my PhD, I decided to move back to Barcelona, my hometown, in order to continue my undergraduate research on fashion modelling, armed with the theoretical tools I acquired during my PhD. The result is my book Divine! Models, Power and Lies (Barcelona: Anagrama 2015) winner of the 43rd Anagrama Essay Prize. This is the most prestigious essay prize in the Spanish speaking world and I am only the 5th female winner. In Divine! the personal is political and academic too, for it combines my personal experience as a former model with academic research and a critical standpoint.
I currently work as an Independent Scholar based in Spain where I continued publishing scientific and popularising books and papers, and furthered thesociology of the body and gender studies by means of academic courses, public talks and even a TED talk in English: Change the Model! Although my PhD friends now live in different continents, I am very proud to say that we kept our friendship alive.
Make the most of the chance to educate yourself and be grateful. Not everybody in the world who has will and talent will be lucky enough to get an education. Universities and the knowledge you are receiving are the fruit of the (not always rewarded) great efforts of many people along centuries. Always work to return your debt to civilization.